tv Erin Burnett Out Front CNN April 5, 2012 11:00pm-12:00am PDT
that does it for this edition of 360. iran playing a game of nuclear chicken with the rest of the world. the question is who will swerve first? a new video shows government waste on tape. it's pretty wow. and the latest of the trayvon martin case. brand new analysis of the 911 george zimmerman call and what word he really used. let's go outfront. i'm erin burnett. countdown to nuclear showdown. the rhetoric rising ahead of a make or break moment for iran
and the rest of the world. a week from tonight, negotiators will be arriving to talk with iran about the disputed nuclear program. the debate over where iran will talk to the united states, britain, france, germany, china and russia may not just be rhetoric. this could derail talks and send the world down a path towards military strike. now, iran suggested it might move the venue from istanbul to beijing. here's what william cohen told me. >> the iranians are not interested in reaching an agreement, thane are not interested in producing a nuclear pow e. they're interested in acquiring nuclear weapons. >> now iran says it's for peaceful purposes but it isn't just the united states that's frustrated. turkey's prime minister stepped said today that iran's off tore move the venue was this.
>> the offer going around at the moment, damascus or baghdad is a waste of time. it means it won't happen. because of the lack of honesty they're continually losing their international prestige. this is not the language of diplomacy. >> he continued off camera, the name of this is something else, and i won't say it here and it was not a diplomatic slap toward iran. and the pentagon weighed in as well. spokesman george little telling reporters this afternoon that quote, our assessment of the program remains the same. we are very concerned about where they iran might be headed and iran with a nuclear weapon is unacceptable. this is a crucial moment for the world. phil mudd is the author of the ayatollah's democracy. you have followed for many years and the kind of diplomacy,
secrecy, lies that goes on with these kinds of negotiations. are we going to have talks next week? >> i think we are, yes. i think both the iranians want it and the u.s. and the rest of the p-5 want it as well. i doubt very much they're not going to happen. this is a little bit of posturing for sure. but they want to punish them for their position on the missile shield. they don't want to reward turkey with a breakthrough negotiation so the turks can say oh, we were the ones that brought it together. at this point in time. geopolitically. >> phil, it's interesting when you think of the talks with the world so focused on this issue. is there any way to come out of this that doesn't head towards some sort of military action, if iran doesn't give full access to all the nuclear sites. promise to renounce all sorts of things? is there any in between here? >> i don't think that's much in between. look, we'll focus on diplomacy
because the military is not a very good option, but the iranians have gone down a path here and we're deluding ourselves if we think that path is going to be detoured by diplomatic talks. i think this is inevitable. >> what's inevitable? >> i mean, i think that the iranians development of a nuclear program that has military intent is inevitable. we can hope that diplomatic talks can derail this, but that's not a plan. >> you mentioned the other day that iran would need to put certain conditions on the table to have a break through. what are those conditions? before you say whether or not they're going to do them, what are they them? >> i think it's expected that iran would stop their 20% enrichment which is higher than the 3.5% that they were doing which is for the nuclear reactor in tehran. i think that's an expect eight. i don't think it's helpful that the french say you have to do that before they start negotiations but i think iran is prepared. >> you think they're prepared? >> yeah, ahmadinejad said that. >> and to allow inspectors there?
>> well, the inspectors are there and allowing them unfettered access which is what iran did during ka thatmy's rule. they're not going to do it -- >> like what? >> well, i think they want an easing of the sanctions at least or some kind of plan, road map for how the sanctions are going to be lifted over time. something that the russians talked about almost a year ago. they'll need something in return. if they don't get it, of course they're not going to do it. >> doesn't that involve -- i want you to get you to weigh in on this, but doesn't that involve the leadership in iran losing face which is really hard to do diplomatically? when you say you're not going to do something and then put it on the table. he doesn't want to look weak. >> he already said if you give us fuel rods we don't need to, if you sell us fuel rods we don't need to enrich the 20% which concerns the rest of the world. there has to be something. he's already said that. >> this sounds reasonable,
sounds like it makes sense. yet if this were to happen, it would be a whole lot of talk that iran was obfuscating or iran is not being honest. >> i don't buy it. look, iran watched us accept a nuclear program in korea and they have had a missile program for decades. the taught that they'd step back now and say, hey, everybody else has it, i think it's minimal. i think it's continue. >> you think there's parallels in how the united states is treating iran with how they treated pakistan which of course has nuclear weapons. >> i think that's true. i mean, i think we wring our hands when these countries go down this path. in the 21st century with the spread of technology and proliferation the prospects that hand wringing and diplomacy can bring the countries around when they can acquire these from russia, china and north korea
and when they see threats from us and others around the arabian gulf, i think they'll engage in talks because they want to detour us. but we're not able to shove the program aside. >> but it seems at this point that there's a time line, that there's never been before. israel is so vocal. they can't back down, and iran is vocal. they can't back down. if this not clearly resolved the end game seems pretty clear. i mean, how severe. there might be a military strike, it seems clear. >> unfortunately it seems like -- i disagree with paul that the iranians want to build a bomb or do that imminently. i think it's pretty clear that once you have the technology that they have already and they continue to develop it that they could make that decision to build a bomb which is good enough. >> so the lead time becomes -- you can get one within months or weeks as opposed to years? >> that's true.
i would agree with him that if iran decides to do that that's nothing anything can do to stop them including military action. so the best solution really is find a way to deincentivize the government from taking that step. >> the united states, bottom line, have to back down and it doesn't seem like they want to go into an all-out conflict? >> i think the answer is yes. look, iran has one of the most advanced engineering and scientific communities around. they watched what happened in iraq and they said let's bury and disburse our program. if we think we can eliminate this with military strikes this is wrong. i think the continue will continue to step forward. >> the horse is out of the barn. thanks to both of you. still outfront, did the president step down or was he misunderstood? and a shocking sentence, a
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came to light about a lavish conference held in las vegas that featured a clown, some mind readers, some trust games. now a web video has surfaced which shows another gsa employee joking about excessive government spending. dana bash has been covering this for us, and what's in this video? >> you have to see it to believe it, erin. it is absolutely stunning. it turns out in that conference which cost taxpayers $822,000, it isn't just the clown and the mind reader thats bes the administration. the gsa held a talent show, and an employee for a regional office in hawaii won. take a look at his video and listen to him making fun of excess spending and saying he would never be under investigation. ♪ you can't touch the gsa, i get
the reward ♪ ♪ i'm on vacation, i'll never be under investigation ♪ >> now, the other thing you heard in that rap was him saying every gs-5 would get a top hat award. a gs-5 is an entry level government employee, and the top hat award, we've learned today, is something the gsa gave out to employees. it was an award worth $200,000 and it was taxpayer-funded ipods and electronics and gift cards. the gsa, they actually held an awards ceremony at that conference for the video, and what you're about to see is the deputy commissioner of public building service, a federal employee, a top one, giving out the award. and listen to the way he mocks oversight, or appears to, of the gsa. >> now, there are just a couple small matters. the hotel would like to talk to you about paying for the party that was held in the commissioner's suite last night.
you need to take care of that, and eleanor holmes morton, our chairwoman on the oversight committee, called. she has a couple questions about pay increases for executives. something about going against the obama administration discussion about executive pay and incentive. >> we got this video from capitol hill today, and i'm told that the house oversight chairman darrell issa's office got this on a disk as part of the criminal investigation of all this excess spending. i also just obtained, erin, a letter that issa sent to the director that says it turns out they were briefed on this last may. that's right, 11 months ago, and they sat on it. >> wow. i mean, at least the kid doing the rap looks like he could be successful in another industry. everybody else seems a little -- well, thank you very much. okay, the department of
justice has responded to a highly unusual demand from a federal judge in texas. this is pretty neat. acknowledged in writing, the court's power to overturn laws are unconstitutional. why would they have to do this? because president obama weighed in on the supreme court ruling over his health care law on monday and said this. >> i'm confident that the supreme court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected congress. >> that's when you say, gosh, i wish i stuck with the prompter. some critics interpreted that statement as a challenge to the authority of the court system but asked today if the president misspoke. the white house press secretary said president obama was only misunderstood because as a law professor, he was speaking in shorthand. >> the premise of your question
suggests that the president of the united states, in the comments he made monday, did not believe that the supreme court could rule on the constitutionality of legislation, which is a preposterous presence. >> our political panel joins me now. john avlon, former speechwriter with me in new york, leslie sanchez in washington. michael, as you said, these are moments we live for in our industry. the choice was poor. >> i think he was talking in shorthand, but what he was saying broadly was that it's very unusual, really extraordinary, for an economic measure like this to be struck down by the supreme court. believe it or not, there is actually a famous footnote -- i said i would get this footnote on national television that says, we want the judges to be really vigilant about protecting economic rights, but when it comes to something like regulating health care, we want them to defer to congress to the
give and take of the political process. i think that's what the president was saying. it's a big issue and i'm actually glad he did it. >> the context you provided there makes it seem a lot less than what he actually said. the footnote. >> absolutely. >> i think in washington it matters where you stand as well as where you sit. normally, they're saying that the court should have excessive deference and in favor of a strong executive when they're in the white house and now the roles are reversed. it shows how much is political and situational ethics. >> michael, maybe he shouldn't have said anything at all. it's his law, but he's the executive branch. >> on the one hand, it's a big issue and the next president may appoint a bunch of these justices. it is rich to hear the
conservative politicians bemoaning this when for decades they have been attacking the supreme court, attacking roe vs. wade, worrying about judicial -- >> they have been saying activism -- activist is in the eye of the beholder. leslie, i want to ask you about something that came out of this. department justice submitted this letter to the texas court. they requested three page, single space. do kids even know what that is anymore? we all know. by noon. that made reference to what the administration thought. could courts overrule laws, and they got it. and they got it in time and here's a quote from the letter. the power of the courts to review the constitutionality of legislation is beyond dispute. and then referencing the president's comments you heard. they were fully consistent with the principles described here in. this is an unusual thing to request a letter like this. is it out of line? >> i don't think so if the department of justice felt it was out of line, they would have asked for relief from a higher
court but clearly it didn't. they felt it deserved merit and sfond -- responded. they did not write it 100 times on the chalkboards. very much -- i have to make a point and disagree with the two intelligent colleagues that you have with you. >> he's about to slam you guys. >> no. but what i'm saying is that this -- the president clearly misspoke. with all due respect to where the debate is laid out, it's become a very dangerous debate in the sense that it's trying to intimidate, it sounds as if the president was trying to intimidate the supreme court. we can look at a long line through history of presidents that tried to politicize a very revered institution. we have coequal government and branches of the government and i think there's a dangerous precedence being set there. and the supreme court has overturned cases 363 times and that's not unusual to to do so.
there's a political battle brewing here, not a judicial one. >> but it's very unusual for them to take a signature, regulatory economic law of a president and strike it down if they do it. because they basically don't like it. so actually for that reason i actually think they will uphold it. it's up to the opponents of the law to prove it's unconstitutional. this is the same supreme court that gave us citizens united which he believes and i believe was a very, very intrusive decision, struck down decades of laws and gave us the rise of the super pacs and a lot of other things. and you really have almost a structural conflict between the kind of conservative justices on the court and for the first time in decades they're facing a more liberal -- at least for a time more liberally elected branches. there's always going to be these fights. >> but the president is expecting a defeat on his landmark piece of legislation
being obamacare. he's playing a -- laying a political groundwork, putting the court very much in the position of being the bad guy and this type of tactic for a fall campaign that's the part that people are most concerned. >> bottom line, it's going to be a general election issue. for the first time people will take the power of the president to appoint a supreme court justice. >> that might be a good thing too. people realizing how important this court is. >> absolutely is. >> his comments, president obama's comments were nothing compared to the threats like fdr trying to pack the court. this is relatively mild. >> court packing. >> there's a serious judicial -- it was serious constitutional implications. >> thank you all three. well, a surprising sentence for some shocking crimes involving terrorism. late today a federal judge gave the merchant of death 25 years behind bars.
that was the minimum. all right, he could have gotten life. victor boot is the man i'm talking about. he made a name for himself as one of the world's most notorious arms dealer, fuelling violent conflicts around the world. selling ten million rounds of a -- ammunition. he was the inspiration for "lord of war." he was convicted of conspiracy to kill americans and providing aid to a terrorist organization. kathy lynn austin has spent 15 years alone tracking boot. she was in the court for the sentencing. we had a chance to talk as you were getting ready for this case. what do you think about this sentence, 25 years, the minimum? >> erin, i'm both shocked and disappointed. i cannot believe the verdict. i think the prosecution went into this case thinking it was a slam dunk.
there are a number of us investigators who wanted to bring forth evidence of his past crimes and the judge said, look, you just didn't present to me enough facts to show that this was a violent individual, that he had a lot of bloodshed on his hands, so she gave the minimum sentence. >> i'm curious to your thought on the money here. prosecution asked the judge to sign an order to force boot to forfeit $20 million. that may sound like a lot of money to everybody watching but an parentally he has $6 billion in assets in net worth because of the arms deals he's done over the years. what's going to happen to that money? >> well, first of all, the judge decided she would only fine him $400, and then the forfeiture would only be $15 million. so again, the prosecution failed to make a strong case where at the minimum $20 million would be forfeited. the biggest concern here now is as you're mentioning that money goes right into the u.s.
government coffers. none of that money as far as we know right now will be repatriated back to any of the victims of the crimes for which victor boot is responsible or to build balance sheet to rebuilding the communities in the war zones where his weapons have fuelled massive devastation. >> i know you obviously spent more than a decade tracking victor bout. i'm curious right now are there americans arms dealers who are doing things in places like syria right now? >> well, we're really concerned about the intermediaries. these are the arms brokers, the transporters who are bringing weapons into syria. we have seen recently from the libya situation where we now have a coup in mali where weapons were dragged a thousand miles across the desert to support that particular conflict. there are these intermediaries
where it just seems like they're evading justice. they are the ones we should be going after. and like again we saw today with the victor bout trial, they just keep going off lightly. >> well, thank you very much for taking the time to be with us. and continuing to do the task of finding these people around the world. still "outfront" the latest developments in the trayvon martin case. we have an expert who listened again to that tape to find out what word george zimmerman really used to describe trayvon martin in the 911 call and we have a rather surprising take away of what that word was. and russia adds a new ray gun to its arsenal. we'll tell you about it. and hurtle us all into space. which would render retirement planning unnecessary. but say the sun rises on december 22nd, and you still need to retire. td ameritrade's investment consultants can help you build a plan that fits your life.
we start the second half of our show with stories we care about, where we focus on our own reporting, do the work and find the outfront five. first, the masters began today without any sign of ginni rometty in a green jacket. the past four ceos of ibm have given green jackets to augusta national golf club. they only have male members. we're told they have never invited a woman to join. today at the white house, president obama's personal opinion says women should be invited to the club. mitt romney also took the twitter and said he believes women should be given membership. newt gingrich thought his wife should be a member. we're hoping that ginni rometty will break her silence.
she got her job the hard way and history handed her a big moment. somali has called for a cease-fire after capturing several cities. they said they have accomplished their mission and have put down their guns. but the military leaders of the coup put off talks to talk about the future. neighboring countries have closed their borders with mali, hit the country with crippling sanctions. amnesty international warned they're on the brink of a major humanitarian disaster. and called for immediate aid access to get to the country. china hacking web sites belonging to the government. there is a message asking people to revolt against the chinese government. anonymous said it's in response to the chinese internet restrictions. the government has blocked some websites, spreading rumors of a coup in china. they emerged after the death and
disappearance of a major chinese leader, a former communist party star. number four, initial jobless claims dropping from 600,000 to 357,000. this is a crucial jobs indicator. if you look at the one-month moving average, it also dropped. economists say this is a strong sign we'll keep seeing job growth in this country. tomorrow is a big day. the labor department will put out those job numbers. we polled some economists, they predict 200,000 jobs will be added and the unemployment rate will go down to 8.2%. it's been 245 days, though, since america lost its credit rating. what are we doing to get it back? today the president signed the jobs act which will make it easier to invest in start-up businesses. eric cantor signed off on it. everybody agreed. this is incredible, if we keep getting more things like that, we'll get our aaa back. the reason we got downgraded is because they wouldn't get anything done. that's good news. >> race has nothing to do with
it. >> we're asking for justice, justice, justice! did george zimmerman utter a racial slur minutes before he shot 17-year-old trayvon martin? forensic voice expert john owen says no. he used a computer to analyze zimmerman's voice on the 911 call. that's the call where many people said he used a derogatory word to refer to martin. after separating zimmerman's voice from the cell phone interference, he came to the conclusion that the word zimmerman used is punks. we put it on the loop to let you hear what it sounds like. martin's family says the volunteer neighborhood watchman racially profiled their son. zimmerman says he acted in self-defense.
no charges have been filed. martin savage is in sanford, florida, for us tonight. martin, i know the tape is still difficult to understand, but you hear the nk or something like as opposed to the oo which would have gone along with the other word that people thought george zimmerman used on that call. >> you actually picked up the key part, the reason tom owen p -- the reasoning that tom owen said he came up with the deduction that it was punks. he was listening for the oo sound that was never there. when he was able to take out the distortion that was in there that gave people that misimpression, you get more of the un sound or punks. he passed that by linguistics and they verify what he found. >> it's pretty amazing. this is the same voice expert that earlier this week that actually said it wasn't george zimmerman calling for help on that 911 call. so certainly it doesn't appear he has any dog in that fight.
why is this word choice so important to determine if it was a racial slur? >> well, you're right, this is the fact that he came out with something earlier in the week that would appear to be damaging to george zimmerman and now something that would bolster his defense. it's significant here because if there was no racial slur, it probably will have a significant impact on any federal investigation especially one that may be pertaining to trayvon martin's civil rights or hate crimes. zimmerman, many people felt, because of the racial slur they thought they heard, was going after trayvon martin for more reasons than just because he was the neighborhood watch captain. remove that, you take away the inflammatory language and may take away the federal case. >> thank you. investigators are continuing to look into the shooting death of trayvon martin. we have a task force meeting right now in ft. lauderdale trying to evaluate this
controversial law that's the law that prevented police from arresting george zimmerman. florida stand your ground law says you have the right to kill if you feel your life is being threatened. it doesn't seem to matter who's the initial aggressor which is fascinating. state senator chris smith said the law is flawed because it does protect people when they're the aggressor. remember this call that zimmerman made to 911. >> are you following him? >> yeah. >> okay. we don't need you to do that. >> okay. >> all right. many believe zimmerman instigated the situation as a result of that. he said, he was told not to follow him and should be protected under the law. it's important to note his attorneys have told us that they are using self-defense, not stand your ground as a defense. justifiable homicide though have tripled in florida since the state passed the stand your ground law in 2005. senator smith is doing something about it. he's outfront.
you were talking about this commission you're putting together to evaluate. what's happened? >> well, we have met today and we're still meeting behind me. state attorney, public defenders, law professors and criminal defense lawyers and former prosecutors and actually former judges. we're going through this statute line by line and trying to really discuss the statute and seeing where the ambiguity and where the problems are and to come up with some action steps to try to push the governor as well as legislature that maybe we need to clean up the statute and give out the rights and responsibilities of floridians. >> i'm just talking about this aggressor issue which you gave such an incredible example of on this show the other day. >> yes. >> could you -- would you consider keeping a stand your ground law, but being very clear to change the if you were the aggressor, you can't use it in your own defense? >> and that's exactly the point.
we're meeting and we have been discussing -- a few people have mentioned get rid of the law, but the discussion is amending the law, especially this aggressor part. for someone to start the altercation or starting a fight, and then using this as a shield for prosecution. we're looking at ways of more clearly defining that because i don't think we believe that in the civilized society. >> so are you -- i mean, obviously it's early, but does it seem you're going to push the governor the repeal the law or modify the law? >> i think we're looking to modify the law. the law is being misused but the premise of it is something that floridians believe in. i think we need to clarify the law more. especially send a signal out to people that this is not what we expect of floridians. we do not expect you to be the aggressor, we do not expect you to start the fight and then avail yourself of the law and hide from prosecution. >> senator smith, thank you and good to talk to you again.
we're back with our outer circle. we reach out to sources around the world and we begin in greece where continued clashes over the devastating a man took his own life in athens, his reaction to the debt crisis weighing on individual lives. i'm curious as to whether this suicide which we've heard so much about, whether it's an isolated incident or more widespread? >> erin, according to the greek health ministry, the number of suicides and attempted suicides have soared after a government reduced stiff austerity measures as a response to the country's staggering debt. the 77-year-old shot himself at the height of rush hour in athens on wednesday. in a suicide note, the retired pharmacist said the measures made it impossible for him to live with dignity and he couldn't face a future, in his words, rifling through garbage cans for food.
one left a note on the spot where he died saying, this is not suicide, this is murder. accusing the government for not taking care of its own people. erin? >> thank you, anita. now to south africa where after an editing delay and a bizarre semi-release featuring a video that would not play, part two of the most successful video of all time, kony 2012, is now out. it's gone viral. eroll barnett is reporting on the new video. how has it been received so far? >> reaction to the kony 2012 sequel has been generally positive except in the documents released. it's from the lord's resistance army. it has their insignia and cnn couldn't independently verify its authenticity. however, the group calls the campaign a facade and they say children are simply a front for the u.s. government to extend
its influence in central africa. this response video, so to speak, addresses those concerns. they show on the ground how money is being used in uganda and neighboring countries as well. the chief prosecutor of the icc appears in the video saying thanks in part to what invisible children is doing, it's more likely that joseph kony could be captured. >> okay, thank you. so just a couple of months ago i was talking about the unemployment rate and showing -- telling you how it had signs of progress ahead of tomorrow's number for the actual unemployment rate. but the question is is it enough? our economy has been in terrible position and the jobs increases we have seen have not been great. they have not led to bigger paychecks. income in february grew .2% not even close to gas prices. same thing in january. more than 12 million americans are still looking for a job. 5 million out of work for 20 weeks or more.
more americans are taking antidepressants than go to the movies every week. double what it was 15 years ago. tonight's idea guest deepak chopra is known for helping people. he's written more than 60 books including the latest "spiritual solutions, answers to life's greatest challenges." tonight he's outfront to share his idea for making america confident again. >> well, all the creativity comes from here. where did yahoo start from, google start from, facebook, twitter, all the social networks, apple. iphones, ipads. so it's all here still. what happened is we created a false economy by creating these derivatives which were not based on value or service or products.
and we kind of bamboozled the country into spending money that they hadn't earned to buy things that they didn't need, to impress people that they didn't like. and now we have a crisis. so i think once we recognize the creativity and the innovation, this is the cradle of innovation. once we realize that hasn't changed, our ability to produce and create, innovate, has not changed. this is a psychological crisis. >> what do you say to people out there, i mean, the numbers are still stunning, when you look at the people who don't have jobs or haven't had jobs in a long time. they have part-time jobs and want full-time jobs. you talked so much about meditation and spirituality. >> this is -- as a foreign individual, i would say right this moment there are certain questions you should be asking yourself. is there an opportunity for me in this crisis?
ask the question. even if you don't have the answer. because if you kind of reflect on that question, you might suddenly have an insight what that opportunity is. >> you're thinking optimistically about opportunity -- >> that's what we call the brain set point. some people see problems, some see opportunities. secondly, connect. this is the time to cultivate relationships especially with people who shared the same interests, the same talents, the same abilities. thirdly, put it out there on the social networks. there's no -- no telling who's looking for what. join something like linked in. i mean, so many things people can do and i know these people who are actually right now using the crisis to make a better life for themselves and also figuring out what their priorities are. you know, their families, their relationships. >> and do we need to think about that differently? priorities. you think about so many people in the world have nothing. live on less than $2 a day.
and the united states -- it's not just during the crisis, but it's a very consumer driven society in so many ways. we have so much in this country. so many things. >> it's such an ugly word to describe a human being -- consumer. you know, here we are, human beings, we have insight, inspiration, imagination, choice, and we call ourselves consumers. it makes me shudder just to think of how we describe a human being. this is the time for everyone to ask themselves how can i be happy, how can i cultivate relationships? what's the meaning and purpose of my existence? next why americans are consuming something that could be saving our economy. and vladimir putin building a zombie ray gun. we'll tell you why and how it works. it's like a burning fire and a prick in your arm. that's next.
i am a bigger is better kind of guy. i absolutely love building locomotives. i knew i wanted to design locomotives from when i was very young. [ jahmil ] from the outside it looks like such a simple device. when you actually get down into the bare bones of it, there's so much technology that's submerged. [ rob ] my welds are a signature, i could tell my welds apart from anybody's. you lay down that nice bead and you look at it, i love it. they don't go together by themselves. there are a lot of little parts, and everyone has their job. [ scott ] i'd love to see it out there on the open tracks. and when i see it, i'm gonna know that i helped build that thing. [ train whistle blows ] here she comes! [ bell clanging ] [ train whistle blows ] wow! [ charlie ] well, it's one thing seeing them built, but then to see them out here, pulling freight across america, it makes us proud. ♪
gas prices are up 20% this year and that's a painful thing. it's been hurting americans. according to the aaa fuel gauge report, prices were up 5% in march alone. the current cost for a gallon of regular gasoline, $3.94. and considering that the american economy is about 75% powered by consumer spending, there's a lot of fear that gas prices will send the economy
back into recession because americans don't have money to spend on discretionary things. not so. tonight's number, 7.3. that's the percentage gain in sales from macy's and target in march. some retailers did even better. gap and limited posted gains of 8%. all of that trouncing the increase in gas prices. analysts credit warmer weather and new fashion trends. but whatever the reason is, americans gave the recession and doom and gloom sayers a piece of their mind. it's a good thing deepak chopra has us thinking optimistically. and still "outfront," a president wants a zombie ray gun. we'll tell you what it is and what america has to fight back. they've been committed to putting clients first. helping generations through tough times. good times. never taking a bailout. there when you need them. helping millions of americans over the centuries.
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so we saw this headline in london's daily mail. putin target foes with zombie gun which attacks nervous systems. so russia is developing a gun that uses radiation to boil internal organs, control their behavior and drive victims to suicide. it has a mind control aspect to it. the russian military plans to use the gun against its enemies, and according to the report, against russian disdents. there is even a quote from vladmir putin comparing it to a regular weapon, but, quote, it's more acceptable in the terms of ideology. this is messed up. the media is more acceptable in
terms of political and military idealogy. the media picked up the story as one more example of vladmir putin's relentless quest for power. we were suspicious, though, of a story of a zombie ray gun published just the day before. we tracked down the writer. he was at home with the flu, but he answered the question as to whether this is true. he said it is. according to christopher leak, the russians are developing this weapon and even though it's years away it's a good indication of where putin's head is. because if they have this technology, it confirms a lot of things we've heard about putin. some of them funny, some of them not. it's also a reminder, right, of how civilized america is. but there's a problem. we already have a gun like that, our own radiation ray gun. it's called the active denial system or pain ray. it was developed for security and crowd control. it has the ability to pep trait under the skin, hitting you like a needle and then raising your body temperature like opening a microwave oven. unlike the russian gun, it can't actually control your mind. the russ